Arcadis and the automobile sector in Central Europe

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Arcadis Czech Republic, a leading global natural and built asset consultancy company dealing with a broad spectre of primarily technical services, has a formidable team of specialists in Prague providing specialized services to Clients from the automotive industry.

We were talking about the team’s activities with its Leader Martin Doležal and Director of the company, Pavel Čermák.

Why did you create a specialist team for automotive Clients?
M. Doležal: Just as other real estate Clients, those from the automotive sector also manage a broad portfolio of assets: administrative buildings, logistics warehouses, dealer networks and their own manufacturing plants. And such an extensive portfolio goes hand in hand with the spectre of services that our team provides from both our Czech and Slovak offices. During project preparation and construction of manufacturing and logistics buildings, we provide well-established services such as project and cost management, quality control and value engineering that are provided to Developers of logistics and industrial buildings or directly to Automotive Manufacturers and even their Suppliers. These include smaller projects as well as the largest ones prepared and realized both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Moreover, for more than 10 years we have been developing the so called Programme management, within the framework of which we manage the development of entire dealer networks for a number of automotive brands, for instance Lexus, Opel, DS, Infiniti and others. These include hundreds to thousands of individual projects throughout Europe and also globally. From Prague, we are currently covering more than 20 European countries, from Scandinavia through central and south-east Europe all the way down to Israel.
P. Čermák: Automotive Brands as we know them though their product portfolio are connected to a immense number of Suppliers. Even these Suppliers have a need for our services. The continually growing and alarming share the automotive industry has on the total economic performance and employment rate in the Czech Republic and Slovakia also reflects in the growing offer of our services and forms approximately one third of our total turnover.

When it comes to services, it is probably quite a difference to advice on how to build a car dealership than an entire manufacturing plant.
P. Čermák: A manufacturing plant is a large and technically complex project but is situated in one location. A network of automotive dealerships, let’s say Opel, where we act as the so-called Brand Guardian, for instance, is spread throughout Europe and covers almost 3,000 individual car showrooms, thus a considerable number of Stakeholders we have to negotiate with in the place of realization. The approach to dealing with individual projects or entire programmes therefore becomes considerably different.

Would you describe what the Programme management and function of a Brand Guardian is?
M. Doležal: For instance, if you take the Opel Project. The correct term is Programme and it is a set of hundreds or even thousands of projects, that being automotive dealerships. The aim of the Automotive Manufacturer is to build a new or refurbish an existing network of dealerships in order to provide it with a unified corporate identity and to provide Clients with the same level of service. Our Team sets the rules for the whole Programme, creates reporting system and subsequently manages the Supplier chain, which supplies elements of the signage, façade, all the way to the interior fit-out, to even such detail as coffee cups. We also create a conceptual design of individual dealerships and assist Dealers with its implementation. During the whole process we ensure that all the corporate standards of the Automotive Manufacturer are implemented correctly – thus being the Brand Guardian.

What significance does it have for the Automotive Manufacturer and what does the Dealer have from it?
M. Doležal: The Automotive Manufacturer has the security knowing that all the required standards will be implemented correctly and that all the Dealers will be unified, providing Clients, where ever they will be, Dublin, Sarajevo or Tel Aviv, with the same level of service. Dealers will benefit from their new showrooms built in accordance with latest trends and which will certainly attract more Clients. Nevertheless, not all Dealers are in favour of these considerable investments. What is needed here is a diplomatic approach as well as possible financial support from the Automotive Manufacturer.

How long does such a programme take?
P. Čermák: Years. Cooperation with Automotive Clients is a long-term relationship. It is necessary to build a new production line for each new model and Dealer networks are usually innovated and changed within seven to ten years. Our work is also influenced by other trends such as e-mobility, digitally enabled customer experience and others. Electric cars will be changing the appearance of showrooms, networks of charging stations will be built and there will also be the necessity to build new manufacturing plants with both existing as well as new sub-suppliers… All of this will need a highly sophisticated and effective system of Programme management at a Europe-wide or even global level. And this we are delivering and further developing together with the visions of our Automotive Clients. Together with them, we are preparing for rapid or even revolutionary changes which will occur within this sector over the forthcoming decade.

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